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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Loons open Allianz Field era with draws and a win

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Minnesota United FC kept an unbeaten mark for the first month in its new home.

Photo by Margie O’Loughlin

By Matthew Davis
The Minnesota United FC Loons Major League Soccer team (4-3-2) capped its first month playing at Allianz Field in St. Paul with a win April 28. The Loons won for the first time in the new stadium as 19,620 watched. The Loons edged a win 1-0 over D.C. United (5-3-2), which came into the game at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I thought we deserved it with our second half performance,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said in the postgame press conference. “We got the crowd in the game.”
Loons forward Angelo Rodriguez had the crowd roaring with the game winner in the 82nd minute. He collected his fourth goal of the season, which matched his total from 2018.
Goalkeeper Vito Mannone earned the win in net as he faced one shot on goal in 90 minutes of action. Mannone improved to 4-3-2 overall, which included starts in the first two games of Allianz Field’s brief history.
“It feels great. Hopefully more to come,” Mannone said in the press conference. “It’s a great base for us to go and win games.”
FIRST GAME APRIL 13
He allowed three goals in that first game when the Loons had a 3-3 draw with New York City FC (2-1-6) April 13 in front of 19,796 fans. The first-year goalkeeper faced six shots on goal and made three saves.
Loons midfielder Osvaldo Alonso scored the first-ever goal at Allianz Field in the 13th minute of the game, which shot off the offensive fireworks for the stadium’s premiere.
“It means a lot! I never thought I would score the first goal in the new stadium,” Alonso said in the postgame press conference. “I’m very happy for the goal but disappointed in the result, but we have to keep going.”
New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos became the first visiting player to score with a goal in the 16th minute. He added another two minutes later for a 2-1 New York City FC lead.
Rodriguez tied the game 2-2 in the 20th minute. The Loons took a 3-2 lead on a gift from New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson when he let a loose ball slip by his foot in the 32nd minute for an own goal, when a player causes a goal in his own team’s net. New York City FC forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi saved his team from defeat with a game-tying goal in the 64th minute.
“I’m glad that we didn’t lose,” Heath said in the postgame press conference. “I thought our supporters were magnificent. I though the noise in the stadium was incredible. And it bows for better times ahead I think.”
APRIL 24 GAME
The Loons also reached a scoreless draw with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Galaxy (7-1-2) April 24 in the second-ever game at Allianz Field. Mannone stopped four shots in that game to preserve the draw. His LA Galaxy counterpart, David Bingham, only saw one shot on goal by the Loons.
“This game, we were in control of the game,’ Mannone said in the postgame press conference. “We managed the game in the right moments in the right time against a good team.”
UP AHEAD
Minnesota United FC has four home games in May, which includes a friendly with German league squad Hertha Berlin May 22. The Loons wrap up the month’s home schedule with the Houston Dynamo (5-1-1) May 25.

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